On March 30-31, ZDOK brought Virtual Reality’s top theorists, researchers and filmmakers together in Zürich for a day of thought-provoking discussions on the significance of immersive storytelling for documentary film. AC brought industry expertise to the table to present a keynote on the current state of the VR/AR/360/MR market and the place of documentary VR within it. AC explored key challenges, common myths, future trends and an insightful case study to provide conference-goers with essential strategies for successful immersive documentary storytelling in today’s market environment.
Read the abstract for AC’s keynote below, or watch the full talk here.
In the past two years, it’s become clear that virtual reality goes far beyond gaming. 2017 will see a massive increase in the global revenue from software and services on the whole, with the sector predicted to rake in as much $1.3 billion USD, compared to last year’s total sales of $300 million. And with this expansion, the still-emerging technologies of VR, AR and 360° will continue to scale up too.
Samsung revealed that 5 million units of their Gear VR headsets had been sold worldwide, with which users watched over 10 million hours of 360-degree video clips. Media companies distribute Google Cardboard viewers to readers, while conferences and trade shows give participants their first taste of VR and its many applications, from industrial, commercial, educational to medical. In the years to come, VR headsets will scale down from unwieldy helmet-sized gear to devices as light and compact as sunglasses.
Meanwhile, the immersive documentary genre continues to expand, as on-the-ground projects take viewers to the heart of social issues. New productions leverage technology to present hyperreal visions of melting polar ice caps and rapidly disappearing wildlife; while still others combine a documentary spirit with creative license to create abstracted yet deeply emotive virtual insights into the lives of those who suffer.
After a brief market overview, we will review the current range of formats and production modes in light of their definitional difficulties, their unique strengths and weaknesses, and consider the case for genre-blending documentary 360° and/or VR. The challenges and opportunities facing documentary VR will be discussed, as well as the unique selling points of outstanding 360°/ VR storytelling to take into consideration as you prepare your next immersive project.